Well, hello. It is I, Anna, the person who rarely posts on her blog.
I thought it was about time I post again. When trying to think of something to blog about to get back into the flow, I thought – why not something about reading that I’ve seen in a blog/vlog before?
So without further ado, I introduce to you my list of how to read more books.
Even though I have been an avid reader since childhood, I don’t think I read a very large amount of books. My Goodreads goal at the moment is 60 books for the year, although I know I’ll probably be increasing it. But this is nothing compared to my Goodreads friends who read 150 books, 200, or more… whilst still understanding what they read. I’m a fast reader, but I’m also a university student who spends a LOT of time in transit. But I’m slowly starting to increase the number of books I’m reading through these steps (in no particular order):
1. Always have a book on hand.
I have books everywhere in the house – in my bedroom, by my computer, on my way to the shower… (hehe). And when I’m out of the house – at least one in my backpack, one on my laptop for when absolutely nothing is happening in class and I need something to stimulate my brain (it happens). They’re always there… staring at me… judging me because I’m not reading them. And so I cave in to the siren’s call – often when I’m supposed to be doing something else. I won’t finish the other books anywhere as fast as I do the ones that I take on my (very long) transit trips, but a few pages here, a few pages there. It happens.
2. Set aside a time(s) each day to read.
Once I started to make sure I read on my way to and from school, I found that I started reading much more than I ever had before. It’s a little harder on the days that I don’t go to school, but that’s because I’m still working on finding a time to set aside. (I like to do this in the evenings, but I’ve already got a bunch of things I already do before bed.)
3. Read what interests you
Some people make lists of books they’re going to have to read (this month, this year, etc.) Maybe this works for some people. It doesn’t work for me. I have this thing where if someone tells me that I have to read this book (e.g. for school), I immediately do not want to read it. For some reason, a list is similar. I’m telling myself to read it???? I don’t understand it. I find that I read a lot more if I just read what I want. I look at my books and decide which one I feel like reading next. It’s the psychology of feeling the freedom to choose, I guess. Like I said… it’s weird and doesn’t make much sense.
(P.S. This doesn’t mean that I only ever read what interests me. I often plow through books that are dry in certain sections. I have the need to finish whatever I start. However, picking something that looks interesting usually works well. )
4. Don’t focus too much on understanding everything in the book.
This is especially for nonfiction books. I recently read Mortimer Adler’s book Reforming Education, and when a child I tutor is working on his own things, I am working on How to Read a Book. Adler’s method focuses on steps of reading. The first time, you read the book just to get the most out of it that you can. Then you read it again while studying in further detail. Note: I do step one. I’d only reread if I decided I specifically wanted to study that book. However, even if I may be too lazy to reread books (or I don’t want to reread the book right after I read it the first time), I understand the importance of that first step. Don’t let definitions of words bog you down. Check a few that you really want to know, but try to use the context of the sentence to figure out the most. I like to google “name of book name of author analysis” if I am really struggling with a section or a poem, but I prefer to wait until after I’ve finished reading because I want to form my own thoughts.
5. But you can do some small analysis while you read.
The analysis that I do is very superficial, but it still feels important to me. I underline quotes that I find important or just really like the sound of. I write notes in the margins if I have a good thought about a passage… or if I’m confused about it. I would be lying if I said that I’ve never written question marks in some of my books.
Of course, all of this only if the book belongs to me. Unfortunately. And yes, I use a bookmark. I don’t dog-ear pages like a savage.
6. Join an active social media website about books.
The people you associate with really do have an influence on you. Ever since I joined the PageHabit Facebook page and I see pictures of the books people are reading on my dash every single day, I feel the need to read as well. Shaming really does work.
And that’s it! I hope some of these tips help you. Until next time (whenever that might be).
Anna is an Education student. She is, shamefully, writing this blog post during a class lecture because she already read the textbook chapter and the professor is not providing much else information.